Israeli Navy Dolphin-class submarine 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Handout)
A defense delegation arrived in Germany on Wednesday ahead of the planned
delivery of Israel’s fourth Dolphin-class submarine, widely rumored to be
capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Led by Defense Ministry
director-general Udi Shani, the delegation met with senior German defense
officials and was scheduled to visit the shipyard where the submarine is being
built. It is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming months.
submarines are the military’s most expensive platform and are often referred to
as the country’s second-strike doomsday weapon due to their reported ability to
fire cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.
Dolphin-class submarines in the navy’s fleet are called Dolphin
and are believed to be some of the most advanced diesel-electric
submarines in the world.
Germany donated the first two submarines after
the First Gulf War and split the cost of the third with Israel. The three
submarines currently in the navy’s possession employ a diesel-electric
propulsion system, which requires them to resurface frequently to recharge their
The submarines under construction will be fitted with a new
propulsion system combining a conventional diesel lead-acid battery system and
an air-independent propulsion system used for slow, silent cruising, with fuel
cells for oxygen and hydrogen storage.
The submarine that will be
delivered is one of two which Israel ordered following the Second Lebanon War in
In March, Israel signed a contract for a sixth submarine, meaning
that by the end of the decade the navy will have doubled its fleet. The German
government heavily subsidized both recent deals.